Recipes: Santa Maria Tri-tip Tacos

Chef Toms Santa Maria Tri-Tip Tacos recipe is a favorite with the ATBBQ crew. Smoked Salsa and Pickled Red Onions topped with Avacado Crema top off this great taco.


Santa Maria Tri-tip Tacos Recipe


  • 1 whole tri-tip
  • Sweetwater Spice Tres Chiles Fajita Bath
  • Oakridge BBQ Santa Maria Grill Seasoning
  • corn tortillas
  • cilantro
  • Pickled Red Onions (Recipe Below)
  • Grilled Salsa (Recipe Below)
  • Avocado Crema (Recipe Below)


Place the tri-tip in a gallon zip top bag with equal parts water and Sweetwater Spice Tres Chiles Fajita Bath. Squeeze the air out and seal the bag. Place in the refrigerator for two hours.

Preheat your Yoder Smokers YS640 to 450ºF, set up with GrillGrates for direct grilling. Remove the tri-tip from the marinade. Pat mostly dry with paper towels. Season generously with Oakridge BBQ Santa Maria Grill Seasoning. Grill the meat on both sides until the internal temperature reaches 125ºF (check the temperature using an instant read thermometer like the Maverick PT-100). If the surface is getting too dark move to an indirect grilling area.

After removing from the cooker, rest the meat 5-10 minutes. While resting, grill the corn tortillas and hold warm in a foil pouch. Slice the meat thin, then chop. Assemble the tacos with the remaining ingredients.

Pickled Red Onions Recipe


  • 1 large red onion, sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 3 dried arbol chiles
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water


Fill a quart sized mason jar with the sliced red onions. Don’t pack them too tight.

Combine all other ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Cool to room temperature. Pour the liquid over the onions. Place the lid on the jar. Give it a shake to distribute all ingredients.

Store in the refrigerator. Let sit for 24 hours before eating. Onions will keep for a week in the refrigerator.

Grilled Salsa Recipe


  • 3 roma tomatoes, halved
  • 2 jalapeños, stemmed, seeded
  • 2 poblanos, stemmed, seeded
  • 1 small sweet onion, peeled, halved
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 small bunch of cilantro
  • 1 ear of corn
  • juice of 1/2 a lime


Preheat your Yoder Smokers YS640 to 350ºF set up for indirect heat. Wash the vegetables and place all except the cilantro and lime on a Frogmat. Roast until the vegetables until soft.

Give the veggies a rough chop then place all ingredients except corn in a food processor and process until desired consistency is achieved. Cut the corn off of the cob and add it to the salsa.

Avocado Crema Recipe


  • 1 cup Crema Mexicana
  • 1 small ripe avocado
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • juice of 1/2 a lime


Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Process until smooth. Store in the refrigerator.

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pickled red onions recipe

grilled salsa recipe

grilled salsa recipe

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